Saturday’s racing was about as exciting as you will see! Several of the major races came down to a nose at the end. Two of our top three stars had to dig down deep to pick up the victory and show the courage to battle all the way down the stretch. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of what will be an incredible year of racing. Here’s who made our Three Stars of the Week after all the action:
1. Instilled Regard
The million dollar baby is living up to the hype! Instilled Regard was a very pricey yearling, but he’s well on his way to the Kentucky Derby after a 3 1/4-length romp in the Grade 3 LeComte Stakes on Saturday. The horse began excelling when he stretched out to two turns, first crushing a maiden special weight before finishing a very close second via DQ in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity. That contest is looking like a key race on the Derby trail, as the top two finishers have already come back to win next out. Jockey Javier Castellano gave Instilled Regard the perfect trip as he sat just off the leaders, then put everyone away down the stretch. It looks as though Instilled Regard could return to Fair Grounds in the Grade 2 Risen Star for his next start.
2. Shining Copper
Shining Copper has always been a very fast horse, but on Saturday, he showed he had tremendous heart, battling back after being passed to win the Grade 2 Ft. Lauderdale. The battle-tested son of Aragorn set the early pace as expected, but was passed in deep stretch by One Go All Go. Just as it looked like Shining Copper would have to settle for second, he fought back along the rail and was able to inch clear in the final stages of the race to win by a head. The win was Shining Copper’s ninth of his career and pushes his earnings to $817,449. The horse was known primarily as a “rabbit” for a good part of his career, but he’s now inching closer to becoming a $1 million earner.
You could see that this horse was getting better and better with each start, and on Saturday, she deservingly broke through to pick up her first graded stakes victory in the Grade 2 La Canada Stakes. After running competitively amongst some of the best fillies in the country in 2017, it seemed as though the La Canada offered a bit of class relief for her, and he daughter of Uncle Mo took full advantage. After stalking the pace for most of the way, Mopotism engaged the leader at the top of the stretch, but she had a fight on her hands. Pace-setter Mended would not go away, while La Force was moving fast up the rail. The three horses battled all the way to the wire, with Mopotism just barely edging clear late to win by a head. This victory could propel her back into Grade 1 company, as she is in top form at the moment.